This study aims to establish the rates of hypertension among individuals living in rural and urban areas in Turkey, and to compare their level of awareness concerning cardiovascular disease risk factors and lifestyle modifications. In total, 1679 people from urban areas and 1321 individuals from rural areas who were over 40 years of age were contacted. Hypertension standardized prevalence rate was 49% in mates and 51.3% in females living in urban areas, and 55.3% in mates and 59.6% in females living in rural areas. The risk of hypertension was higher in those people living in urban areas with a smoking habit, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, inappropriate salt intake or a diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia. The risk of hypertension was also higher in people living in rural areas with obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, an inappropriate consumption of fat and red meat or a diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia or diabetes. Awareness of the importance of all of the included cardiovascular risk factors and protection from those risk factors was higher in urban areas. We concluded that cardiovascular risk factor control programs should be conducted together with hypertension control programs in rural and urban areas. (C) 2009 Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.